MICHIGAN

Just in: Michigan Wolverines Should Focus On Sportsmanship And Play By The Rule

Michigan Wolverines Should Focus On Sportsmanship And Play By The Rule

 

I have been watching the drama surrounding the Michigan football team for several weeks, but I have refrained from commenting for a few reasons. First and foremost, I wanted to observe how this sign-stealing incident unfolded. To be completely transparent, I have provided media training for Michigan’s football student players on multiple occasions over the years, so I was cautious to get involved too soon.

But I just couldn’t handle this weekend. I’m weighing in to let you know that I’m done. The esteemed football team of Michigan, which is presently rated No. 2 in the country, needs to stop acting dramatic and seriously consider the effects of cheating on their program, reputation, and, most importantly, integrity.

Backstory: The Ann Arbor football program has been accused of signal-stealing, and a Big Ten investigation into the issue produced sufficient proof to suspend Jim Harbaugh, the head coach of the Wolverines, for multiple games. How does signal-stealing work? In order to assess their opponents’ performance and interpret their signals for use in future games, all teams spend time watching video and television broadcasts of their matches. According to college football regulations, this is a legitimate practice that has led to the creation of entire departments at schools like Georgia, Michigan, and Ohio State.

Signal stealing is illegal and can be done in two ways: either by sending a staff member to watch opponents play in the future (often disguised like John Le Carré) or by employing electronics to listen in on opponents’ games. The prohibition on signal stealing makes perfect sense because eavesdropping is costly and gives larger, more affluent programs a significant edge. The NCAA outlawed the practice years ago for this reason.

The mysterious character of one Connor Stalions, a former USMC captain and football analyst for the Wolverines, is at the center of the controversy. He is the undercover agent in disguise who has been “made” by rival football teams after they have witnessed him at their games. But the one who has to take the heat at Michigan, again per established NCAA guidelines, is head coach Harbaugh, who has flatly denied having any knowledge of, or participation in, the signal stealing. He has not, for the record, denied that it occurred.

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